Singapore’s newest playground will be located in the new Gallop Extension of one of our all-time favourite parks – the Botanic Gardens!
After an extra year’s worth of waiting, the new Singapore Botanic Gardens Gallop Extension has officially opened! This 8-hectare addition to the Botanic Gardens across from the Learning Forest on Tyersall Road brings the total size of the Botanic Gardens to 82 hectares, making the new extension the largest expansion in the Botanic Gardens’ history!
With an emphasis on learning about forest ecology and the significance of conservation, the Gallop Extension will be home to at least half the world’s forest tree species – how cool is that?
To ensure ecological sensitivity, the new Gallop extension will be opening in phases: the first to open in October 2019 will be the OCBC Arboretum and the Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge hiking trail. In early 2020 we can look forward to a nature-inspired playground for children, the COMO Adventure Grove Playgarden; a canopy link bridge; and an art gallery and “Forest Conservation Interpretive Centre” set within two gorgeous 19th century black and white houses. And did we mention there will be direct access from Farrer Road and a place to take a forest bath?
Read on for more info on the new Botanic Gardens Gallop Extension! NB: Some images are artist’s renderings, but we will add in new images as they become available!
This 2-hectare “living library” collection will showcase a stunning collection of rare and endangered trees from around the region, including at least half of the total species of dipterocarps (the iconic giant tree species of Southeast Asia’s rainforests) in the world. In this tranquil and reflective spot, visitors can learn more about Singapore’s diverse habitats and their distinctive features.
Mingxin Foundation Rambler’s Ridge
This cool ridge-top hiking trail that bisects the Gallop Extension showcases plants found on tropical mountains in Southeast Asia, including the critically endangered Spike Oak and Braided Chestnut. With actual rises and inclines, the ridge-top hiking trail will also provide a new, more challenging experience for adventure seekers and cardio junkies. NB: While dogs are allowed in other parts of the Gallop Extension, note that they are not permitted on the Rambler’s Ridge trail!
COMO Adventure Grove Playgarden (opening in 2020)
Pictured at the top of the article, on this naturalistic playground kiddos will be able to swing, slide and climb on structures inspired by nature – from a Weeping Fig swing to a “warty” giant Cempedak climber. And how AMAZING does that windy slide emerging from the trees look?
Inspired by the distinctive parts of the trees found within the grounds (more than 200 in total), the COMO Adventure Grove playground is all about appealing to children’s innate desire to explore and connect with nature.
HPL Canopy Link (opening in 2020)
Crossing over Tyersall Avenue from the main Botanic Gardens is a new 200m long, barrier-free bridge that will connect the Babusetum at the Learning Forest with the lush forest canopy of the Gallop Extension. The HPL Canopy link has been sensitively designed to integrate with the natural landscapes – both ecologically and aesthetically – and provides both accessibility and stunning views for visitors of all abilities, who will have the unique opportunity to see native forest tree species up close (talk about a bird’s eye view!).
Botanical Art Gallery (opening in 2020)
A Natural History Art Gallery will be housed in a black and white mansion dating back to 1902 (designed by the same architect who built the Raffles Hotel, it was originally owned by the Chairman of the Straits Trading Company, and for 60 years housed the French Ambassador). The gallery at 7 Gallop Road will be a new showcase for carefully curated exhibitions of the Botanic Gardens’ extensive collection of over 2,000 botanical illustrations, along with art pieces on loan from other galleries, museums and botanical institutions.
History buffs can also look forward to unique artefacts from the Botanic Gardens’ archives, such as a 16th century book of medicinal plants (donated by the British Museum) and a set of engravings of tropical plants made in Singapore by the Japanese during World War II.
Forest Conservation Interpretive Centre at Atbara House (opening in 2020)
Right next door at Atbara House at 5 Gallop Road (built way back in 1898!), visitors will be able to learn about the complex ecology and rich biodiversity on display in the nearby OCBC Arboretum and Walk of Giants – all in air-conditioned comfort! It’s also a chance to learn more about the Botanic Gardens’ role in establishing and preserving Singapore’s forest reserves, along with what role all citizens and visitors can play in vital conservation efforts.
Gallop Valley & Farrer Road Entrance (opening in 2020)
Making the Botanic Gardens ever more accessible (we like the sound of that!), the new Gallop Extension will also have a Farrer Road entrance. This will be accessed by the Gallop Valley path, a quiet, peaceful route featuring meandering streams and softer foliage to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in mindfulness and a restorative forest bath (so hot right now!).
Want to find out more about the new Botanic Gardens extension and see for yourself? NParks is holding two weekend celebrations for the new Botanic Gardens extension. Click the link for all the deets!
The Gallop Extension’s hours will follow the operating hours of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, 5am to 11:59pm. Access to unlit areas is restricted from 7pm to 7am. Find the Gallop Road extension near 5 Gallop Road, Singapore 258960; there will be on-site parking, but not during the two opening weekends.
All images courtesy of NParks